Receiving a call at 3 a.m. and leaving their home to assist at the scene of a local apartment fire is an ordinary occurrence at the home of American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter volunteers Geoff and Ann Ziman.
“We’ve been doing this for so long and have been through all of it together,” said Ann of the couple’s 14 years volunteering. “We understand what our roles are; Geoff takes care of ensuring volunteers are available when an emergency strikes, I follow up with those affected and make sure they have what they need.”
Inspired by their two close friends, Saul and Taffy Hoffman, Geoff and Ann started volunteering at the Red Cross Palo Alto Chapter in 1999. They quickly became one of the Chapter’s “tandem couples” and continue to proudly wear their Red Cross vests as Disaster Services volunteers. They have received Red Cross honors as Volunteers of the Year, Golden Bear Award recipients, and were recently recognized by the Legacy Society for their generous gift in their estate plan.
To date, they have responded to more than ten national disaster relief operations including the September 11, 2001 attacks, Southern California Wild Fires, the Paso Robles earthquake, and, most recently, Superstorm Sandy. Locally, they respond to about three to five emergencies a month and stay in contact with clients until their needs are met.
“Members of our Disaster Action Team (DAT) see families who lose their homes, family members, and pets,” Geoff said. “Responding can be stressful and arduous but, when you look back at it, you get satisfaction from seeing how much you are helping out the community. The rewards come in the form of tears of gratitude in the eyes of the people you have helped and the grateful hugs that you receive from those affected.”
Geoff and Ann are proud to volunteer for an organization assisting people without favor or bias. They credit the extensive training provided by the Red Cross for enabling them to cope with their sometimes trying experiences.
“The quality of the devoted colleagues we work with and how we all work together as a team to respond to those in need is a key factor in making us feel good about our Red Cross involvement,” said Ann.
Learn how to become a volunteer at: http://www.redcross.org/ca/san-jose/volunteer